This Month

This Month February 2021 - Sunday, 31 Jan 2021

Whilst we had a few cold days and some snow through January I felt that generally the weather was much warmer and more like the end of March. We continued the winter prune and more small areas were cut back severely or even cleared. I think we have finished all the major areas I wanted to tackle this year although often it has been a sudden decision as we work through the general prune, I do not usually do things on impulse but feel it is the right decision to have made. This has resulted in several gaps so I have been looking online at the plant lists from some of my favourite nurseries that produce more unusual plants. I have especially been looking at some with remarkable leaf shapes and at shrubs rather than herbaceous as I want to reduce my future workload, they also have to survive rabbits and muntjac. I found some which look wonderful but the cost of them would make it an expensive risk so I look to similar species yet more affordable, 2 or 3 hundred pounds for one plant is a lot when you have space for several and when the hardiness is questionable. I only ever get one of each variety as although sometimes it would be nice to have a group I prefer to go for a greater range of species. I already have four different Schefflera and am thinking of getting more as the leaves are so amazing.
It was a sudden decision to cut out another old damson but every year it had been leaning more over a path making it difficult to get past. This damson was in direct line of view from the veranda, my favourite seating area, it has lengthened the vista quite a lot and with a few carefully chosen snips on the plants beyond it will be possible to have a partial glimpse of Orlaith, our friendly dragon created at Dragonswood Forge. The downside of the view is that a water tank is slightly more visible so I have made a bamboo fence to hide it which also solves the problem of what to do with some of the hundreds of bamboo canes I cut out every year.
One of the plants waiting to be planted is Parrotiopsis jacquemontiana which grows to about 20ft (6m), it is from the Witch Hazel family from western Himalayas, the flowers are yellow with white bracts. Asimia triloba, also grows to 20ft (6m), has deep purple flowers comprised of 3 large lobes surrounding 6 petals of which 3 are large and 3 small growing singly or in small clusters. It is from eastern USA  and hardy down to -15c.
Pseudopanax crassifolius is from New Zealand and may not survive here but I decided to try as it looks so different to other plants. The leaves are narrow, less than 1 inch (2cm) but are long at 12 to 16 inches (30 to 40cm), they also hang down and are thick and leathery and give the small tree a sparse look.
I have a list of gaps and a list of plants in pots, I am now trying to marry the two together to see what gaps are left and their situation so I can shortlist the ‘wants list’ and find where I can get them as well as browsing the nurseries looking for different species.

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